By: Prahlad Singh Patel
Heartiest greetings to all countrymen on Buddha Purnima .. !!
Whenever Gautam Buddha’s name comes to my mind, I am reminded of an interesting story. The story goes – One day Buddha was interacting with his disciples. Suddenly in the midst of it, an angry man came and started using bad language against him. The man continued to do so for quite some time. All of Buddha’s disciples were furious with the man but Buddha told them to remain quiet. After a while, the man grew tired of shouting and came to Buddha and said “I have been abusing for quite some time now but you haven’t reacted to it at all.” Buddha, in his calm voice replied, “If you have something that you want to give to me but I refuse to take it, who will it be left with?” “It will be left with me,” replied the man. Then Buddha said, “See in the same way you kept using bad words against me but I didn’t react, hence where are your words?” The man replied “They remain with me.” Inspired by Buddha’s wisdom, the man fell at Buddha’s feet. The young man understood, clasped his hands together and slowly bowed to the Buddha. Clearly, the man had learned a valuable lesson that day.
This was the power of Buddha. This is the essence of his wisdom: Forgiveness! Sobriety! Renunciation !. I think these virtues are most needed in the current times. Today is Buddha Purnima. It is the time to remember his message and teachings. The Modi government is observing it as ‘Vaisakh: 2565th International Buddha Purnima Day’. I think Buddha is very relevant with his inspiring life and teachings in such a difficult time. His ideal life, his philosophy can show us the way as to how to ride out calamity and difficult times. It helps us to meet the challenges bravely. The Corona pandemic has forced us to return to several basic tenets of our great culture.
It has reinforced that the principles and ideal life that we have talked about for centuries, the morals and values that we have tried to establish in our lives, are timeless. Their relevance in adversity has been established over and over again and will continue to do so in the future as well.
The contribution of Gautam Buddha to the human values that we have adopted in our lives, and passed down from generation to generation, is invaluable and priceless. We are moved by compassion towards those suffering, towards animals and birds, towards those who are helpless, and have empathy for one and all. We owe all this and much more to the invaluable teachings of Gautam Buddha.
Through this very simple sentence, ‘Trishna(craving) is at the root of every sorrow’, Buddha has captured the greatest agony of our lives, has unravelled the greatest cause of human suffering. If we look at all the sufferings and sorrows of life, one will find the same root cause – ‘Trishna or Greed’. Since childhood, Gautam Buddha was lost in search of explanation to such questions, for which even saints and seers did not have answers.
He was clear that the real joy of life lies in sharing. Sacrifice takes us on the journey of happiness. Seeing the suffering all around him, he renounced his princely life and went in search of truth. Renouncing family and majestic splendour is not easy. But he did it and set an example by doing so. He remained tireless in his search for truth. Gautam Buddha gave the message ‘Atmadipo Bhavah’, that is, ‘Be a light unto yourself’ or conquering oneself is the biggest victory. This pearl of wisdom can bring peace to an individual even when surrounded by adversity.
Buddha, the propounder of Buddhism , was born on Vesak Purnima, so it is also known as Buddha Purnima. It is celebrated not only in our country but also in many countries including Japan, Korea, China, Nepal, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia.
The Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India have done a tremendous amount of work for the preservation of the Buddhist pilgrimage sites of our country like Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar and Sanchi. These places attract Buddhist followers from all over the world. Apart from the teachings of Buddha, one can also see the architectural beauty of these monuments.
In a nutshell ,if we imbibe the teachings and wisdom of Buddha in our lives , then we shall contribute not only to establishment of a great country and a great world but also help create a great human being with values of the highest order. Once again, congratulations to all of you on Buddha Purnima ..!
(Shri Prahlad Singh Patel is Minister for Culture & Tourism in Government of India)